Growing Marijuana In California

Are you confused about the rules on growing weed in California? Still can’t seem to find information about how many weed plants you can grow? I’m pretty sure that is by design.

Being that marijuana legalization is still pretty new, in many states the rules are quite vague. I’m no lawyer, but I have gathered some info in the hope that you’ll learn what you need to know about marijuana growing laws in California.  However, if you need more information, you probably should talk to a lawyer.

I’ll also share some basics on California’s medical marijuana program as well as a timeline of all the changes in marijuana law. It isn’t always about the rules, though, that’s why you will find some weed growing etiquette advice as well.

Keep reading to learn about growing in the great state of Cali.

Please note: ILGM is NOT a legal adviser. Information contained in this website is intended as general introductory information only. The information contained on this website is not legal advice. It should not be construed as legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

First, a summary:

California can now legally grow up to six marijuana plants at home, including all of the harvest from those plants.

That means:

Every adult Californian can now legally grow marijuana.  Based on California’s history, this is likely an event that was destined to occur. Still, before you get started growing; there are some rules.

Here’s what you should know:

  1. The minimum age is 21
  2. Possess no more than 6 plants at a time
  3. Grow only where you live, where it cannot be seen and lock it
  4. Carry no more than 28.5 grams, leave the rest at home
  5. Cities can prohibit outdoor growing, but not indoor growing
  6. If you’re in trouble with the law, get a cannabis lawyer

And don’t forget, know what you are doing! Grab Robert’s free grow guide, the Marijuana Grow Bible, before growing in California.

The minimum age is 21

Marijuana is now treated similarly to alcohol, so no underage growing. To clarify, while teenagers may love growing weed –

Hey, it’s a fun science project.

The current law is clear that it is an adult sport.

Possess no more than 6 marijuana plants

This is probably the clearest part of the new law. It says six plants, regardless of their stage in the growing process. Many other states allow adults to have additional plants that are not already flowering – California does not.

You can grow maximum 6 marijuana plants

Without a doubt, this rule is likely due to environmentalists concerns over widespread home growing impacting the water supply. Therefore, everyone needs to be conservative in their weed growing.

Once again, a single person can only grow six plants.

While this rule may be a bummer to some, it’s not that big of a deal.

After all, do you know how much weed you can yield from six plants?

You’ll be fine – especially if you use advanced growing techniques like those taught in this blog… Plan ahead and store your weed well, and you’ll have plenty to cook with.

When limited to six plants you want to consider which plants to grow.

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Our friends from aPotforPot offer a great solution for a small grow, be sure to check out their offers here

Keep your growing personal

Another key point: just because growing is legal in California, it’s still a personal privilege that should be kept private.

Sorry, guys, it’s still not a good idea to reality show your grow.

In a similar fashion, you should only be growing in your own home or on your property. People should not be able to see your plants unless you live in a place that doesn’t care and it’s just your neighbors – and they don’t mind.

For the most part, it seems reasonable that you should be able to grow in your backyard, however even that may be a problem. If you are growing openly in your backyard and you live next to someplace public, like a park, that is, in fact, illegal.

28.5 gram is the maximum ammount
28.5 gram is the maximum amount – Image powered by
Reddit.com

28.5 is the magic number

Great news; you can grow as much weed as you want from your six plants!

But there’s a catch. You can’t carry it around.

At any given time, you can only have 28.5 grams of marijuana. Seeing that this equals an ounce, this should not be a problem for most people. On the positive side, this does not apply to weed from your personal harvest. You can keep all of that.

However, if you give away any of it, you can only take 28.5 grams of it out of your house.

Want to grow premium Amsterdam genetics in California?

Visit the ILGM seed bank, we ship to California for free! 

Here’s my advice:

If you don’t already own a scale, invest in one. If you grow six plants, you will have much more than 28.5 grams. To stay legal, make sure you aren’t carrying too much at one time.

If you plan to grow in California, take some time to learn advanced growing techniques. It will help you get the most yield from a few plants. Click here if you want to buy marijuana seeds in California

Growing marijuana is your right

Although it is now legal, many California home growers may need to stay stealthy. There are cities and towns in California that are prohibiting marijuana growing.

Guess what?

They are allowed to do that by this law. If you live in one of those areas, you cannot grow outdoors unless no one knows you are doing it. If they can tell you’re growing weed, you have broken the law.

Growing is your right
Growing is your right

The law also says cities and towns cannot keep you from growing marijuana inside your home. This includes rental homes and apartments. If you are a renter, follow the rule of keeping your growing personal, and you will stay legal.

California growing laws are highly defined, like California wine. Although they are more restrictive than other states, they also give a lot of rights to home growers. To repeat, if you need help, talk to a lawyer.

marijuana in california grow store

Also read How to Start a California Grow Shop

From the necessary state and local requirements to finding equipment and supplies, gather all the information you need if you want to start a grow shop in California.

California growing etiquette

The right to grow weed at home is vital for many Californians. However, some things can get you in trouble, and likely piss off at least one of your neighbors.

Here are some of them:

  • Growing more weed than you need – that’s not eco-conscious
  • Selling your weed – leave that to the ‘professionals.’
  • Planting outdoors where people don’t want you to plant – that’s just rude

Medical marijuana users in California

Starting in 2018, medical card holders will not pay sales tax on retail weed. However, legalization may still be bad for medical users as it may restrict the availability of certain medical strains based on demand. This happened in neighboring recreational states.

Medical marijuana in California
Medical marijuana in California

So, if you use medical strains, it is probably a good idea to start growing them now, before the supply diminishes (if you aren’t already).

Prior to November 2016,


California was well known for its medical marijuana program, and many California patients enjoyed the benefits of growing their own weed for medication. The state led the medical marijuana movement in the United States, with many states following their lead.

The California program is approved for HIV/AIDS, Cancer, MS, epilepsy, Glaucoma, Chronic or unmanageable pain, Cachexia, Arthritis, and Migraines. in the past, you didn’t necessarily need a medical marijuana ID card to grow, but if you did, you risked getting arrested for illegal growing.

You’d also need to:

  • Talk to a doctor about your condition. A doctor will need to write a recommendation. To find a California doctor, visit CANORML.
  • Download and read the Marijuana Grow Bible. This is the authority on growing the best marijuana. It will explain how to locate the right seeds and set up a grow room
  • Purchase I Love Growing Marijuana has a large selection of marijuana seeds to choose from.
  • Check local Growing Rules. California Weed growing laws vary by city and county. Check the rules in your area here.
Growing weed in California
Growing weed in California

The medical marijuana card

You don’t need a medical marijuana card to grow California weed. Previously the card was useful for protecting growers from arrest. Patients and caregivers could register for the card with the state and show it to police in the event of possible arrest.

For patients who prefer to remain anonymous, some nonprofits, as well as a few prescribing doctors, offer medical cards that are not registered with the state. These cards can provide proof of medical need but may not prevent a police officer from taking your weed.

Medical Card is not needed in California
Medical Card is not needed in California

The laws have changed

Growing marijuana in California used to be straightforward for those with medical approval. Before legalization, there weren’t actual limits on how much weed can be grown. This was unique to California.

Basically,

If you have a medical need to grow marijuana, the state assumed you will grow as much as you need.

This wasn’t popular with everyone, however.

Some areas in California challenged the idea, making it illegal to grow, or limiting collective grows. But for the most part, you were okay to grow if a doctor said so.

As a matter of fact, California weed growing was so popular that you could find advertisements for professional weed trimmer years before legalization! Of course, if you follow the advice in the Marijuana Grow Bible, you can save some money and do it yourself.

How much can you grow in California
How much can you grow in California

Growing marijuana in California has been a thing for a while; so, it should be no surprise that there is still some confusion about how many plants medical users can grow.

These things will get you in trouble

There is one thing that you do not want to do as a marijuana grower in California.  It should be obvious, but you should not try to sell your marijuana.

Here’s what could happen:

If you happen to sell your weed to a kid, you are facing felony charges. You also could be sued by the family member or employer of the person you sold it to. If you want to sell weed legally, go through the appropriate channels to be a legal marijuana business.

OffensePenaltyIncarceration Max. Fine  
Possession
Personal Use
Up to 1 ozNo penaltyNone$ 0
28.5 grams or less, over 18 years, and occurred on school groundsMisdemeanor10 days$ 500
28.5 grams or less, under 18 yearsMisdemeanor10 days*$ 250
More than 28.5 gramsMisdemeanor6 months$ 500
With Intent to Distribute
Any amountMisdemeanor6 months$ 500
*Detention center
Sale or Delivery
Any amountMisdemeanor6 months$ 500
Gift of 28.5 grams or lessNo penaltyN/A$ 100
Over 18 years to an individual 14-17 yearsFelony3-5 yearsN/A
Over 18 years to an individual under 14 yearsFelony3-7 yearsN/A
Cultivation
Up to 6 plantsNo penaltyNone0
6 plants or moreMisdemeanor6 months$ 500
Hash & Concentrates
Up to 8 gNo penaltyNone0
8 g or moreMisdemeanor6 months$ 500
Unauthorized manufactureN/A16 months – 3 years$ 500
Chemical manufactureN/A3 – 7 years$50,000
Paraphernalia
Sale, delivery, possession with intent, and manufacture with intentMisdemeanor15 days – 6 months$ 500
Involving a minor at least 3 years juniorMisdemeanor1 year$ 1,000
Forfeiture
Vehicles and other property may be seized for controlled substance violations.
California Laws and Penalties

Buying marijuana seeds in California

While you can buy seeds in some parts of California, they are not available throughout the state. As with most things, you’ll also find a greater selection online. Even more, the process will be discrete. Buy the best seeds for discrete marijuana growing online. Click here if you live in California and want to buy marijuana seeds.

Best Seeds for California

We selected the best seeds to grow in the California climate! If you’re growing outdoors in the California sun, check out our custom collection of California weather-approved seeds.

Latest Updates

Below are some previous articles on growing in California:

To sum it all up:

The rules around growing marijuana have gone through a lot of changes in the past few years, and they are continuing to evolve. To stay out of trouble, you need to keep up with the local news and stay discrete. Living in California has its benefits, so why not enjoy them!

Frequently asked question

Where can I find a lawyer?

Check out the NORML website or use this article.

How do I grow discretely?

Download the Grow Bible or read this article.

How do I start a legal Marijuana business?

There are many steps, but you can get an idea of what you’ll need in this article.

If I get in trouble what are the typical charges?

Most marijuana offenses in California are now misdemeanors. You can read the full law here.

Ready to grow your own marijuana in California but not sure where to start? Explore our wide selection of seeds in our seed shop.

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Jenny Bloom

Editor-in-Chief at I Love Growing Marijuana

Jenny is ILGM's unstoppable force when it comes to quality control for all the content on the blog. In the meantime, she manages to write many of the articles herself as well. She's not a lawyer but is well-read on all the latest marijuana legislations, which she always keeps up to date!... [Read full bio]

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    94 comments on “Growing Marijuana In California”

    Leave a Comment

    1. I am interested in growing a couple of plants in Southern California. I live on a 4 1/2 acre avocado grove with high trees. I currently have a raised bed garden (fenced) next to the house with high trees around it. There are no locks on the gates to the garden. Does this fit the law?

      Reply
    2. I am looking into growing a few plants in California with the new laws not requiring a medical license. I want to sell to local medical dispensaries and eventually retail locations when legal (of course no more than six plants). This is more of a hobby to bring in a little extra cash. Do you know if it is legal at this time to sell home grown plants? I looked at the Colorado laws and it is not legal to sell it there, but I can’t find any updated regulations for California. Thanks!

      Reply
      • Hi Lee, selling without a state licensed permit is considered a misdemeanor in California and can be punished with 6 months incarceration and/or up to a $500 fine. I’m not sure how to get a permit, best check your local government site for info on that.

        Reply
        • Thanks! I finally found some updated info for California and it looks like retail permits will not be available until January 1st 2018 and they don’t have any info on the cost of it at this time.

          Reply
          • Lee, you cant sell it yet but you can get paid to set up small scale 6 plant grows for others. Figure the cost then double it and you can make a good business.

            Reply
    3. Are you allowed to grow in California if you own firearms? Who might have legal issues with it, ex. police or Feds? Can firearms be stored in an unconnected garage?

      Reply
    4. Can someone please clarify if the California limit of 6 plants can still be bumped up to as many as 99 for good cause?

      My doctor certifies me to grow up to 50 ladies and posses up to 5 pounds of dry flowers.

      My good cause is the 1) price of bud at local dispensaries (over $400 per top shelf zip making it unaffordable for me in light of the high dosages needed, and 2) despite my fierce passion for growing cannabis, I’m a. terrible grower and need to grow many plants to harvest few. A 6 plant limit for me would cause an untenable financial burden. That’s my “good cause”

      Fortunately, my fistful or so of ILGM seed orders last year have all arrived safely,, timely, and nearly all seeds have germinated just fine….

      Thank you.

      Reply
    5. how many pot plants can one legally in the city of rohnert park California with intent to sell. Neighbor next door is growing 100 or more to sell illegally and has a nursery in his garage. They are renters

      Reply
    6. Very clear instructions. Thank you Admin.
      Also, rule number one, don’t tell anyone your’e growing!You can’t trust people nowadays!

      Reply
    7. “California is unique in that there is no limit on the amount of marijuana you can grow.”
      2. “The legal limit is 6 plants for medical purposes per person.”
      Huh???

      Reply
    8. I live on 10 acres and have some renters that stay on the property also. Let’s say 6 adults live here…are we allowed 36 plants?

      Reply
    9. My question is how many people can you grow for. I live on property but my brother and sister both live in apartments. Can I grow for both of them. Is there a limit on how many caretakers is my question.

      Reply
      • No more than six plants may be cultivated at a single private residence (i.e., you and your spouse can cultivate no more than six plants total, as opposed to six plants each, at your home). HS 11358 after Proposition 64 calls for felony penalties for people who cultivate more than six marijuana plants

        Reply
    10. What is the consequence of growing a single plant outdoors in a locked yard obscured from public view? Fine? Charges? In SoCal.

      Reply
    11. If you have a charge for weed in another state and complete your probationary period and move to California and owner property’s can you still get a grow card?

      Reply
    12. I live in a townhome in Duarte CA. Our upstairs master bedroom has a large sun deck perfect for growing. Would I have to worry about my neighbors, and do I need permission from our association board members to grow? I own this house and other people in this complex have upstairs gardens. There’s no way for people to get up there. I was a closet grower 15 yrs ago. Would love to grow outdoors and see what I can produce.

      Reply
      • I’m not sure if Duarte allows outdoor growing but if they do you should be set. People may complain about the smell come flowering time though 😀

        Reply
        • Hey
          In palmdale ca. In a 2.5 acree house
          A greenhouse its ok to grow is inside a fence
          And has a lock
          Its ok to grow 70 plants with a doctors letter that said yo uh can grow up to no more then 99 plants
          And i live with my wife and two kids

          Reply
    13. Need prop 64 clarification on growing in back yard. If your city has no bans on growing up to 6 plants on your property for personal use, can you grow them openly in your private back yard with a locked gate or do they have to be in a locked greenhouse or other structure?

      Reply
    14. If my wife and I both have our dr’s recs can we legally grow 12 plants indoors? I understand prop 64 means we can legally grow 6 indoors per household but I was under the impression it’s 6 per patient/6 per valid rec….Bakersfield,CA

      Reply
    15. Does anyone know the answer to my question above, can I grow in my private backyard with a locked gate or do they have to be in a structure (my city has no restrictions…yet). Been trying to find an answer for months, no luck getting a clear answer from the internet.

      Reply
      • Hi Chances, this is what I deduct from the article: “people should not be able to see your plants unless you live in a place that doesn’t care and it’s just your neighbors – and they don’t mind. However, growing openly in your backyard is illegal if you live next to someplace public, like a park.” So you should be fine unless it bothers someone 🙂

        Reply
    16. Southern California is in a huge battle,and know one is telling the fine details of the law.It’s up to you the individual to do your your home work. Most of the small towns want no growing anywhere.Riverside county has a no cultivation ordnance. This was put in effect simply to stop the Cartel’s Frankly they need to run the jerks out of California.People are growing hundreds of plants because they know January 1 they wont be able to and most people can’t and won’t be able to even grow in there backyards.Some of the laws are stupid in my opinion,All the neighborhoods here have little parks all through them.So that stops most homes from growing in backyards because your to close to a park.

      Reply
    17. Interesting situation: I have a recommendation, so I can grow whatever I need personally. Prop 215 sets no limits and the State Supreme Court threw out the Prop 420 hard limits. If I need to exceed the 6+12 rule by a bit, that should be perfectly legal as long as it is for my medical use. On the other hand, under Prop 64, I can grow up to 6 mature plants and keep all I grow in a locked box in my home. So the weight limits don’t exist. Can I be both a medical marijuana grower and a Prop 64 recreational grower at the same time?
      I would also like to say that people with medical recs can get excellent clones or seeds at some dispensaries in California. Northern Lights, Critical Kush, Blue Cheese, etc. Call around.

      Reply
      • FirstTimer,

        I recommend you contact your local community Medical dispensary or agriculture dept. I cannot keep up with Cali. laws. They change all the time and local municipalities can vary limits and such from county to county.

        Some states allow you to do both but, I cannot make a statement of fact regarding wherever you are located. Sorry 🙂

        Reply
    18. Thanks for the response Roy. If a neighbor (or anyone else) were to see the plants, he/she would have to go on to my property and peek over a 6′ block wall. That would be unacceptable to me since I do have an expectation of privacy in my back yard. It is just homes in my track and no parks or schools. I expect my city to ban growing out doors sooner or later but has not done so yet. I think I am legal but if anyone disagrees, would love to hear what you have to say.

      Reply
      • Steve,

        Your question is better suited to be asked to local authorities than in this International blog. With the ever changing legislation in Cali., and other states allowing Cannabis; It is hard to keep up with local laws. I cannot guarantee this but, a greenhouse is not considered outdoors, as such. Interpretation of this again falls to local ideals. Sorry Bro,

        Happy growing, lw

        Reply
    19. i Got a permit to have no more then 99 plants in Orange county is it legal or illegal to have this many indoor growing

      Reply
      • Wendy,

        Yes you can; However, it is best to check your state laws and especially County, City, and Townships. IN Cali… each local government can change restrictions or whatever, whenever they want.

        Hope it all works out.

        Reply
    20. We are 2 adults planning to grow marijuana at our residence(condo-renting). I understand we can grow 6 plants each. So total of 12 plants? Or there is a limit per house 9 plants?

      Also how do we check our city regulation?

      Thank you

      Reply
    21. Nik,

      You can each grow 6 for a total of 12 but, do this to confirm your rights.

      Go to your local town website, and look it up. Or go to county website and look it up. You have to make sure your township or city does not have rerstrictions on the state restrictions. Also; norml.org pretty much keeps up with each states law and limits.

      Reply
    22. Hey, I’d like to know if I can ask someone to grow my plants for me (for money) as I don’t have the time and don’t know how to do it.

      Reply
    23. City of Auburn just passed their ordinance. My concern is they limited the grow to 6 plants per residence for recreational and medical use. How does that not contravene the law allowing as much medical marijuana as you require, under the medical marijuana statute. They are also requiring a permit to grow the plants at $175 initial and renewal. Saying code enforcement costs must be covered.

      Reply
    24. Can some one please help me. I am a senior with rhuematoid arthritis , my doctor has given me a letter to buy cannibus. I have no idea as I look at all if the plants which one to buy for my pain. I am considering three plants or seeds but, then again what ones ?t
      Thank you in advance for any information you may give me.

      Reply
    25. The article starts off saying everyone over the age of 21 can legally grow marijuana if they discreet and follow some simple laws. Toward the end of the article, the writer writes (and I have cut-and pasted the comment) “Even in the laid-back Golden State, growing marijuana in any amount is a felony” (!!!)
      This makes the article and the intent of the writer very suspicious. What is the purpose of this contradiction?

      Reply
    26. Hi, I’m a writer living in Scotland and I’m researching for a book that I’m setting in Redding, CA. I wish to have one of my characters growing marijuana for the purposes of helping those in her community who need it for pain relief. However I have no idea how this would work, living in Scotland! Would it even work or would people be able to buy it freely or get it from their local healthcare provider? I see her as a bit of a saint, maybe ignoring the rules in order to help people. However with your new legislation coming into place in January, I’m not sure what the state of play would be. I have written her as doing this for years for her community, but again, I’m not sure what the realistic history of this would be. I would really appreciate any advice. Ideally, I’d like to have her growing a high cannabadiol, low THC strain, so that it would be appropriate for even young people who needed pain relief (i.e from a terminal illness). Her method of delivery is in the form of blended teas, salves and lotions in my mind – but again, I’d appreciate any tips. Thank you!

      Reply
    27. Hi my name is rigo and I have a question I know some people that want to rent a piece of my property to grow marijuana is that legal

      Reply
      • Hello, I was curious to know whether or not it is currently legal for someone to pay rent to grow their plants in a warehouse?

        Reply
    28. My doctor has licensed me for up to 99 plants. Then I’ve heard that doesn’t matter because the high desert (Inland Empire) only allows 6. I have 36 starts in a locked green house surrounded by pinons and junipers. Are they going to arrest me for 36 plants?

      Reply
      • Mary Jo,

        The laws in Cali. are so messed up due to the state allowing localities to adapt laws to there own standards. This is a problem. I cannot give you legal advice but, I can say; If you are sure that you local government has over rules the state statute, then you must adapt or keep your grow private; Which means; “Do not allow anyone…anyone, no one to witness the inside of that greenhouse. Good Luck.

        p.s. Always keep up with the ever changing laws in your area.

        Reply
      • Roy,

        This info is located on the State, County, and Local websites. You can try NORML.org but that is not always up to date. Best to call your local government and ask 🙂

        Reply
    29. Water usage? Nevermind the water wasted on front and back lawns that offer NOTHING .

      Not to mention, you forgot to add that a person with a medical MJ recommendation can grow up to 24 plants in CA

      Reply
    30. I love 2 in California,If I Grow 6 plants ,does it matter if they are grown in pots or in the ground in my backyard?

      Reply
    31. What a comprehensive overview of California with laws as well as growing techniques. Job well done guys.

      Reply
    32. Anthony, No it does not but, I also suggest checking with local government to make sure. Laws of Cannabis seem to change in Cali when the wind blows in a different direction or due to new county or municipal regulation. Good Luck

      Reply
      • You should use the email that was sent to you with a link for customer service. Or; Join the forum and use the Customer service area. We always back our seeds 100%

        Reply
    33. I live in a residential Neighborhood in Northern California, Sacramento County.. how do i determine if it is legal for our neighbor to grow outside in containers. The odor is overwhelming. Thank you

      Reply
      • I personally love the smell of fresh Cannabis. I am sorry but, we do not get involved with meighbor disputes; Especially in a legal area.

        Reply
    34. Forget legalization in ca. It’s just a money grab.
      I rather give my Hard Earned cash to the homie than a shitty politician.

      Reply
      • Giving money to your homie like a good neighbor makes you a good person. The government is only 1 level above service workers.

        Reply
    35. I have approximately 100+ cannabis seeds of unknown strains that I’ve saved over the years. Is there a way to identify what specific strain they might be by the adult plant’s appearance (i.e. like Blue Dream, GDP, etc.)??

      Reply
    36. could you PLEASE cite your references. You are discussing rules and not pointing to any authority for them.

      Reply
    37. If I have a medical condition and require more than 6 plants am I still protected under the Ca Cannabis medical laws?

      Reply
    38. If you can grow 6 plants per person over 21 yrs of age and have 4 over 21 does that mean you can have 24 plants growing from one household?

      Reply
    39. Does a neighbor have any rights if the fan is too loud in a greenhouse where you can’t actually see the plants?

      Reply